Capital accumulation and capital controls in South Africa: a class perspective

Ilias Alami

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The article analyses capital controls (CC) in South Africa in light of the historically and geographically specific social relations of production. It highlights the role that CC have historically played in reproducing particular forms of capital accumulation, and sheds light on the CC currently implemented by the state. The analysis draws upon quantitative data from the national accounts, descriptive data on CC from policy documents, and interviews conducted during a period of extensive fieldwork. The article makes three main arguments. First, CC have played a key role in facilitating the reproduction of essential capitalist social forms, namely the state and money, and have been instrumental in the management of class relations. Second, the concrete forms that CC have taken are inseparable from the historical-geographical specificity of accumulation and the uneven unfolding of crises and social class struggles. Third, working classes have had an active (though indirect) role in shaping CC policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalReview of African Political Economy
Early online date15 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Capital controls
  • capital flows
  • class analysis
  • finance
  • South Africa
  • state theory


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